Dutch or Nederlands (literally “the low lands”), is an official language of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname. Closely related to German and English — and often said to lie somewhere between them — Dutch is a Germanic language and the native tongue of over 20 million people. It’s also a second language for another 5 million. Dutch is mutually intelligible with South African Afrikaans, which is derived from it, so learning Dutch will allow you to start speaking with locals in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Paramaribo, and Johannesburg. And that is lekker! (literally “tasty,” but in common slang means “cool” or “good”).
Dutch Fun Facts
The Dutch Tulip crisis of 1637 long preceded the financial crisis of 2008. Often considered the first speculative bubble, at its height one tulip bulb sold for more than 10 times the yearly income of a skilled craftsman. The term “tulip mania” is now used to refer to a large economic bubble.
Many Dutch words are similar to English ones since both languages come from the same Germanic root, particularly names for everyday things like fruits and vegetables or colors. Some examples: appel (apple), peer (pear), banaan (banana), blauw (blue), and rood (red).
Like German, Dutch words can form extremely long compounds (though they’re less common now that de Engelse siekte or “the English disease” has affected the language). For example ziektekostenverzekeringsmaatschappij means “health insurance company”.
Dutch and the Livemocha Community
- Almost 15% of all Dutch learners on Livemocha are from the Netherlands
- Only 53% of Dutch speakers on Livemocha are from the Netherlands. Other large pockets of Dutch speakers include Belgium, Aruba, and Canada
- More Brazilians on Livemocha are learning Dutch than people from any other country.